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Old 18th October 2011, 14:39   #1
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Lightbulb Interpreting Bus Tickets

Have you ever looked at a bus ticket closely and wondered why it printed the way it is especially the city bus tickets. Take a look at an example as in the pic of a BMTC bus ticket. Incidentally BMTC tickets are still named as KSRTC even after the separation. Again wonder why!

So folks if you have more information about interpreting a bus ticket (any transport corporation both public and private) please enlighten us!
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Old 18th October 2011, 14:58   #2
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Default Re: Interpreting Bus Tickets

If I remember correctly, the numbers indicate stages.
They will show where you got in and where you will get down.

The conductor would mark these numbers when issuing a ticket.

When checking is done, if your destination stop has already passed, then you are a ticket less traveler.
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Old 18th October 2011, 15:37   #3
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Default Re: Interpreting Bus Tickets

The column of numbers on either side of the ticket represent the stages in UP and Down Trip. The conductor will punch the the number of the stage up to which the ticket is valid on the UP or Down column. The conductor will also note down in the log the ticket numbers in each denomination at the end of each stage. In Chennai you can frequently see buses stopping before the stage to enable the conductor to close the log. Based on this log, the ticket number and the stage punch, a ticket checker can find out over travelers and also whether the correct fare has been collected.

But these tickets are slowly going out of vogue and hand held terminals are now being used to issue tickets which has all details printed.
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Old 18th October 2011, 20:10   #4
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Default Re: Interpreting Bus Tickets

Quote:
Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
Have you ever looked at a bus ticket closely and wondered why it printed the way it is especially the city bus tickets. Take a look at an example as in the pic of a BMTC bus ticket. Incidentally BMTC tickets are still named as KSRTC even after the separation. Again wonder why!
You’ve asked a great question.

BMTC is still a "part" of KSRTC. NWKRTC and NEKRTC also uses manual ticket printed as KSRTC only.

The system of tickets varies greatly between corporations. Any ticket would basically have the following information:
1. The denomination (in case of ‘paper’ tickets) or the total fare (in case of tickets issued through ETMs).
2. A Series number – each series would have upto 999999 tickets.
3. A Serial Number. (In case of an ETM issued ticket, the series number might get replaced by the serial number of the ETM)
4. Some kind of an indication to indicate the validity of the ticket.
5. In addition, ETM tickets would have details of the bus service (as in schedule number), the conductor, crew, date and time of issue and so on.

Coming to “validity”:
Manual tickets usually rely on “Stage numbers”. Passengers are charged according to the number of stages travelled by passengers, and not the actual distance travelled. The operating company (or the local authority) would decide fare stages (the distance between each stage would vary depending on the route or type of service). These stages are numbered – the number remains the same irrespective of the direction of travel i.e., say a bus running between Bangalore and Chennai – Bangalore might always remain Stage #1, and say, Chennai might be Stage #5. (Just an example)

The conductor is required to “close” a stage after the last stop in every stage. Take the following route for example: Say there is a section with 10 stops, A through J. Say, A is stage one, D is stage two, G is stage three and J is stage four. So, the conductor would have to close the stage after stop “C”. For closing the stage, the conductor just enters the serial numbers of the tickets sold till then in his way bill. This system is used to keep a pattern of ticket sales. BEST and other Municipal transport undertakings in Maharashtra have a system of not closing stages – the conductor makes an entry of all tickets sold only at the end of the trip.

Some corporation always indicate the “From” stage and the “To” Stage, while others might only indicate the “from” stage. Some other corporations (like BMTC) have a very unique system of not indicating the stage number at all! (I’ll explain this in detail)

ETM tickets would have the name of the “from” and “to” stages.

The structure of a manual ticket: The structure varies between corporations. Like I said earlier, some corporation always indicate “from” and “to” stages – for such corporations there would provisions for both. See the following examples: The first ticket is of KaSRTC, while the second is of MSRTC. Both corporations have a very similar layout.

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The numbers represent stage numbers. They can punch in upto stage number 199. (They use the “1” on the top left as the third digit). They’d punch in the exact stage numbers on both sides. For example: A passenger traveling from Stage 103 to Stage 75 might get a ticket like this: The conductor would punch “1” (immediately next to the “from” label), “0” and “3” in the colums below. Below the “To” label, he’d punch “7” and “5”. (The x in the image below represents punch marks).

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Some corporations mark only the “from” stage (a majority of corporations follow this system). Now, there are some variations in this as well. Some corporations have different places to mark “Up” and “Down” journeys – like the ticket below. This ticket is from BEST (Mumbai) – most Municipal Transport Undertakings in Maharashtra follow the same system. The stage number is punched depending on the direction of travel.

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This is the ticket issued by TNSTC-Coimbatore in their city buses: The conductor tears the ticket across the stage number. (They just make a small cut)

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The left column is for “Down” direction and the right for “Up” Direction. The same system is applied in both models.

This is a model used by MTC-Chennai: They tear the number accordingly, and also tear to indicate “up” or “down” (up on left top and down on right top).

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This is the model used by TNSETC: They punch the stage number. As you see this this ticket, the conductor has punched “15” and “20” – i.e, the boarding stage number is 35, in the down direction (as indicated by the punch on “keezh” – right top corner). There are four boxes below. On the left, the top indicates “Adult” (“Peri” in Tamil), and the one below indicates Combination. (meaning the fare was collecting using more than one ticket). On the right, the top box is for “Child” and the one below for “Luggage”.

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This is the model used by KeSRTC: They just make a tick on the originating stage number.

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For every fare denominations, you can travel only a fixed number of stages. So, if there is a ticket check, they’d verify the number you have traveled based on the “from” stage marking.

The BMTC System: This system is very unique: They do not indicate the actual stage number. Instead, they just make a tear somewhere on the ticket to indicate that the ticket is “sold”. The checker finds out which stage you purchased the ticket from by looking at the waybill. Using the earlier example (of 10 stops A through J):

When the conductor starts, the first ticket in the Rs. 4 stub is 1001. When closing before Stage “D” it read 1051, it was 1067 before “G” and 1104 before “J”. Say the Rs. 4 ticket is valid only for two stages. Your ticket number reads 1044 – so by looking at the way bill, the checker finds that you boarded at Stage 1 (any stop – A, B or C). So your ticket is valid to travel until Stage 3 (until Stop “G” – i.e., stops E, F and G). If you are checked at Stop “H” – then you are ticketless!

This is a complicated system – but the checkers do it as their daily profession.

There is a lot more to say – but I reserve it for later. I’d be glad to clarify any doubts.
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Old 18th October 2011, 22:03   #5
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Default Re: Interpreting Bus Tickets

Quote:
Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
The structure of a manual ticket: The structure varies between corporations. Like I said earlier, some corporation always indicate “from” and “to” stages – for such corporations there would provisions for both. See the following examples: The first ticket is of KaSRTC, while the second is of MSRTC. Both corporations have a very similar layout.
@Binai - Thats a whole lot of information you got there. Thanks.

By the way is collecting Bus tickets your hobby or are you working in Public Transport company?
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Old 19th October 2011, 10:05   #6
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Default Re: Interpreting Bus Tickets

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@Binai - Thats a whole lot of information you got there. Thanks.

By the way is collecting Bus tickets your hobby or are you working in Public Transport company?
Thanks. I collect tickets as a hobby. With the introduction ETM tickets, the hobby has taken a back bench though.
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Old 19th October 2011, 11:42   #7
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Default Re: Interpreting Bus Tickets

Quote:
Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
The system of tickets varies greatly between corporations. Any ticket would basically have the following information:
.....
Absolutely brilliant in-depth information. Thanks for bringing it to light for all. Although had got to understood a good deal about it in my daily bus travels in Mumbai quite a long time back, this is too exhaustive. Hats off to you.
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Old 19th October 2011, 17:54   #8
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Default Re: Interpreting Bus Tickets

Quote:
Originally Posted by binaiks View Post
The BMTC System: This system is very unique: They do not indicate the actual stage number. Instead, they just make a tear somewhere on the ticket to indicate that the ticket is “sold”. The checker finds out which stage you purchased the ticket from by looking at the waybill.
Awesome reply Binai. This gives us an super comprehensive understanding of the ticketing systems of various transport undertakings. Also you covered various other points such as the above which was niggling in my mind and surely with a lot of other folks. I was always thinking that the conductor just carelessly tears somewhere in the ticket but now know the real process of accounting it! Also some corporations are moving away from such tickets to print outs from a hand held devices. Surely this make make it easy at their back end but removes the charm of the good old bus ticket! Very enlightening! Thank you!
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